One in eight young people say they have never seen a cow.
The shocking statistic was revealed by a survey about farming and the countryside.
The research, carried out by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, also found that 40% of 18 to 24-year-olds don’t know when common fruit and vegetables are in season.
In addition, most of those surveyed believe farmers earn twice as much as they do in reality.
The survey showed that 12% of young people have seen a cow on television, but never met one in person.
Almost one in five (18%) said they haven’t been in the countryside, having never left the city they live in.
More than half of those surveyed (54%) said they did not know strawberries were a summer fruit, and nine out of ten didn’t know that turnips grow best in the winter.
Half of the young people said it is more than a year since they climbed a tree.
Overall, 42% said their knowledge of the countryside is poor, while only two in ten believe they know it well.
Chairman of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, Lord Curry of Kirkharle, said: ‘As a nation we have always prided ourselves on our beautiful and diverse countryside.
‘But this research shows many of the younger population are losing touch with what the countryside has to offer and are unaware of how their food is produced.’
Former JLS singer JB Gill, 30, is trying to encourage young people from cities to get into the countryside.
‘It would be fantastic if younger people could take a day out to the countryside to visit a farm,’ he said.
‘By doing so, they can experience the work that goes into supplying essential food items such as milk, eggs and vegetables – which can easily be taken for granted.
‘Becoming a farmer and learning more about the countryside has been a wonderful experience for me and my family.’
About 2,000 people were surveyed by the Prince’s Countryside Fund ahead of National Countryside Week.
(Main picture: Rex)